Thursday, October 1, 2015

Review & Interview: Auld Lang Secrets by April Patterson Clemens #Giveaway #BibPleaseReview @KHeniadis


Title: Auld Lang Secrets (A Saffron Ellis Mystery #1)
Author: April Patterson Clemens
Publisher: Clementime Press
Release Date: September 7, 2015
Acquired Via: Author

After Saffron Ellis returns to Ville de Bois, Wallace Hadley just knows his life is about to get more exciting. When a girl ends up dead at a New Year's party, Saffron and Wallace decide to solve the murder themselves, and Green Scarab Investigations is born!

In Auld Lang Secrets, book one of the Saffron Ellis mystery series, you'll be introduced to Saffron's eccentric family, peer into the souls of the residents of Ville de Bois, and discover Wallace's deep love for food. Come along for the cozy, clue-filled ride!

Author Interview

Kim (Bibliophilia, Please): Being a book lover, your second name stood out to me. Any relation to Richard North or James Patterson?

April Patterson Clemens: Not that I’m aware of. My great grandfather, Jessie Patterson, was an Irish cowboy, so not unless either are some relation to him.

Kim: This is your third novel (The Tale of Lord Zancrist and Bartholomew Trinket, being the first two), which all centralize around a mystery. Do you read a lot of mysteries?

April: I cut my teeth on Sherlock Holmes in my younger days. I like Agatha Christie’s books, as well as the two BBC shows Poirot and Marple based on her novels. I’m an old fashioned mystery lover, I suppose. I also just love Agatha Christie the person. I’ve read her autobiography a couple of times. It’s one of my favorite books. She was someone I’d like to have met.

Kim: Which are your favorite books/authors?

April: As I said, I’m rather old fashioned. I once went through a period where I didn’t read any fiction less than 100 years old! Nowadays, I usually read about history, especially WWII. I also love Greek mythology and fairy tales. They generally get to the heart of human nature.

Kim: Before writing a book each author has a different method. Some do an outline, post-it notes all over the walls, or even a white board with diagrams. What is your system for writing a book?

April: I’ve gone through several methods. I used to swear by handwriting in Marble notebooks. That’s how I wrote the first two books. I had no idea what either would be about, no outline or anything. I’d just lay down on the bed (this was also Mark Twain’s preferred writing posture) and let the story unfold, let the characters speak. This, however, can take years!

For a mystery novel, I found I needed more structure. I outlined it in a notebook—who gets killed, why, who the suspects will be, etc.—and then pecked it out on my Mac. Much more efficient! I had a separate file where I’d write notes about what needed to happen in the story that I’d reference.

Kim: You are an artist with many talents, including musician and photographer, where does your love of music come from?

April: My grandfather played piano, accordion, harmonica, and the banjo. Growing up in Texas, I remember gatherings with family around the piano in my grandparents’ home, everyone singing and having a grand old time. That changed the older I got. It’s not something people really do anymore.

When I was in high school and after, I sang in some bands—one was a 10,000 Maniacs cover band and another was more of a pop-punk kind of thing—but I was really happy after I taught myself guitar and started writing all my own songs.

Kim: As for the photography, how long have you been shooting? Is there a certain subject you enjoying capturing a bit more than others?

April: I remember my first camera. My grandfather bought it for me. I’d set up photo shoots with my teddy bear and was very serious about it! In high school, my best friend and I swore by black and white film.

I love to photograph old objects, funny shaped trees, ornate dilapidated buildings—things with a history. A couple of years ago, I did one photo shoot of fancy, vintage doors. At one house, an older woman asked what I was doing and when she found out I was taking pictures of her sorry, old door, she was tickled to death! She had to tell her neighbor.

Kim: I am eagerly looking forward to book two in the Saffron Ellis mystery series, any estimates as to the release date? And what about your next CD?

April: Foul Murder at Fable’s Mansion is stewing in the crock pot as we speak. I’ve just about got the outline down and expect it should be all ready in just a few months.

I’m planning to do some online shows on either ConcertWindow or Stageit, possibly by December. I have plenty of songs for a new cd—my problem is finding time to record! I seriously have too many projects—I’m also painting, writing a screenplay—so I’ve had to make my main focus writing in order to finish something. When all’s said and done, it’s my deepest passion.

My Review

Being a long time lover of mystery novels, I was eager to try out a new author, and was not disappointed. I was a bit concerned since the book is under 200 pages, and most mysteries I read average 300 to 400, but April Patterson Clemens did not need more words to tell the story.

In fact I have to say it was refreshing to read a mystery where the female sleuth is not constantly agonizing over her love interest. Now that I think about it, the other mystery series I read would have less pages if the author did not write the main character’s every thought in regards to her relationship, or lack thereof.

I do not read a lot of the classic mystery authors, mainly sticking to cozy mysteries, but Clemens novel reminded me a bit of Sherlock Holmes. Wallace is the Watson to Saffron’s Sherlock. Wallace is the one writing the story and going along with Saffron’s crazy ideas, all while enjoying a good snack or two.

I also got some Agatha Christie vibes going on with the way the story was wrapped up. Saffron insisted that all the suspects return to the scene of the crime, while she laid out what happened and who was the murderer.

I was a bit confused with Wallace's name. Sometimes he was called Walfred and other variations. I knew who the author was talking about, but I kept wondering if I had missed something. Was Saffron just calling him nicknames? Where did the nicknames come from? Is there a backstory to them that I missed. Maybe his name was just another mystery to solve?!?

Clemens did a wonderful job keeping me guessing who could have committed the crimes. She would have Saffron and Wallace leading in one direction, and then decide on something else. And I felt myself thinking, “That makes sense. It could be them.”

Clemens also did a beautiful job in developing the characters. You can feel the love and friendship between Saffron and Wallace. Then there’s the desire that the detective still feels for Saffron. She also did a great job writing the other characters. I felt myself disliking a couple of them because of the way they were described. And I’m looking forward reading more about Wallace’s relationship with his mother. I can see some great scenes that could involve those two characters.

I am already looking forward to book two in the Saffron Ellis mystery series. This was a fast, enjoyable read that left me chuckling about the characters quirks after I finished the last page.

And Clemens isn’t just a writer, but also a musician. I listened to her album, Heart in a Golden Cup, while writing this review. It reminds me of something you would hear in a coffee shop, before an Indigo Girls concert, or at a Renaissance faire. I’ll be adding it to my music list. It’ll be nice to listen to at work or while I’m enjoying a quiet night with a glass of wine.

- 4/5 Stars -

Buy your copy on Amazon!

About the Author

April Patterson Clemens spent her childhood playing in the Texas woods, rescuing butterflies from her swimming pool, wondering about the antiques in her grandparents' shop, and mining for diamonds in Arkansas (among other things). After growing up, she traveled from New York to Venice Beach in a van with some scruffy musicians and an iguana named Gary, lived in a tent village at a Renaissance faire, and camped in an eccentric millionaire's backyard in New England.

She then settled in to raise her son and create things.

Since birth, people and places have infiltrated her imagination, forcing her to weave stories from their various threads.

She loves Greek mythology, is fascinated by World War II, hula hoops daily, and is a magna cum laude graduate of Champlain College in Vermont with a degree in Professional Writing.

April Patterson Clemens also makes sweet, sweet music and her album, Heart in a Golden Cup, is available on Pandora, iTunes, Amazon, and other online venues.

Oh, and she, of course, also loves to write books.

Find April Online
Website | Goodreads


To enter to win oen of five (5) ecopies of Auld Lang Secrets, please enter via the Rafflecopter form below.

Ends at 12:01am CST on October 16th

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FTC Statement: I was given a copy of the book from the author. All thoughts and opinions are my own, and I was not given any money or material incentives for an honest review of this book.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (122): Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner #waitingonwednesday #wow


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Title: Their Fractured Light (Starbound #3)
Rhiannon Thomas
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: December 1, 2015

A year ago, Flynn Cormac and Jubilee Chase made the now infamous Avon Broadcast, calling on the galaxy to witness for their planet, and protect them from destruction. Some say Flynn’s a madman, others whisper about conspiracies. Nobody knows the truth. A year before that, Tarver Merendsen and Lilac LaRoux were rescued from a terrible shipwreck—now, they live a public life in front of the cameras, and a secret life away from the world’s gaze.

Now, in the center of the universe on the planet of Corinth, all four are about to collide with two new players, who will bring the fight against LaRoux Industries to a head.

Gideon Marchant is an eighteen-year-old computer hacker and urban warrior known in Corinth’s underworld as The Knave of Hearts. He’ll climb, abseil and worm his way past the best security measures to pull off onsite hacks that others don’t dare touch.

Sofia Quinn has a killer smile, and by the time you’re done noticing it, she’s got you offering up your wallet, your car, and anything else she desires. She holds LaRoux Industries responsible for the mysterious death of her father back on Avon and is out for revenge at any cost.

When a LaRoux Industries security breach interrupts Gideon and Sofia’s separate attempts to infiltrate their headquarters, they’re forced to work together to escape. Each of them has their own reason for wanting to take down LaRoux Industries, and neither trusts the other. But working together might be the best chance they have to expose the secrets LRI is so desperate to hide.

I've had my ups and downs with the Starbound trilogy, but I've enjoyed it overall. I'm interested to see how everything plays out, and I'm super curious as to who will be narrating the audiobooks.

What are you waiting on this week?

Friday, September 25, 2015

Banned Book Week Giveaway Hop #3 (INT) #bannedbookweek #giveaway


Welcome to my stop on the Banned Books Week Giveaway Hop hosted by Mary at Book Hounds and Kathy at I Am A Reader, Not A Writer.

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community –- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types –- in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship. Visit http://www.ala.org/bbooks/bannedbooksweek for more information.

Most Challenged Titles of 2014

Each year, the ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom compiles a list of the top ten most frequently challenged books in order to inform the public about censorship in libraries and schools. The ALA condemns censorship and works to ensure free access to information.

The Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2014 Are:

1) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: anti-family, cultural insensitivity, drugs/alcohol/smoking, gambling, offensive language, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group, violence. Additional reasons: “depictions of bullying”

2) Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Reasons: gambling, offensive language, political viewpoint. Additional reasons: “politically, racially, and socially offensive,” “graphic depictions”

3) And Tango Makes Three Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
Reasons: Anti-family, homosexuality, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “promotes the homosexual agenda”

4) The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Reasons: Sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “contains controversial issues”

5) It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
Reasons: Nudity, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group. Additional reasons: “alleges it child pornography”

6) Saga by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples
Reasons: Anti-Family, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.

7) The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited to age group, violence

8) The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “date rape and masturbation”

9) A Stolen Life Jaycee Dugard
Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group

10) Drama by Raina Telgemeier
Reasons: sexually explicit

To find more controversial titles, check out ALA's list of Frequently Challenged Books.


I am giving away today your choice of a banned book. (I've never read anything in 2014's top ten, so I'm not limiting you to those.) All you have to do is find what you want somewhere on ALA's list and fill out the Rafflecopter form below.

Winner must be 13 years of age or have parental permission to enter.
US Only
Ends at 12:01am CST on September 28th

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Be sure to stop by these other fantastic blogs and check out their giveaways!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (121): Kingdom of Ashes by Rhiannon Thomas #waitingonwednesday #wow

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Title: Kingdom of Ashes (A Wicked Thing #2)
Rhiannon Thomas
Publisher: HarperTeen (HarperCollins)
Release Date: February 23, 2016

The kiss was just the beginning . . . The second book in Rhiannon Thomas’s epic retelling of Sleeping Beauty combines adventure, magic, and romance for a sweeping fantasy about one girl’s journey to fulfill her destiny.

Aurora was supposed to be her kingdom’s savior. But when she was forced to decide between being loyal to the crown and loyal to her country, she set events in motion that branded her a traitor.

Now, hunted by the king’s soldiers, Aurora’s only chance of freeing her kingdom from the king’s tyrannical rule is by learning to control her magic. But Aurora’s powers come at a price—one that forces her to leave the only home she’s ever known, one that demands she choose between the man she loves and the people she seeks to protect, and one that will cause her to unravel the mysteries surrounding the curse that was placed on her over a century before . . . and uncover the truth about her destiny.

I don't remember a lot about reading A Wicked Thing earlier this year, but I do recall enjoying the fresh take on Sleeping Beauty. I'm also interested in seeing how Aurora continues to deal with her situation.

What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Blog Tour (Review): The Visitant by Megan Chance #giveaway #TLCBookTours


Title: The Visitant: A Venetian Ghost Story
Megan Chance
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (Amazon)
Release Date: September 22, 2015
Acquired Via: TLC Book Tours

A crumbling palazzo in nineteenth-century Venice holds a buried secret.

After she nearly ruins her family with a terrible misstep, Elena Spira is sent to Venice to escape disgrace and to atone by caring for the ailing Samuel Farber. But the crumbling and decaying Ca’ Basilio palazzo, where Samuel is ensconced, holds tragic secrets, and little does Elena know how profoundly they will impact her. Soon she begins to sense that she is being watched by
something. And when Samuel begins to have hallucinations that make him violent and unpredictable, she can’t deny she’s in mortal danger.

Then impoverished nobleman Nero Basilio, Samuel’s closest friend and the owner of the palazzo, arrives. Elena finds herself entangled with both men in a world where the past seeps into the present and nothing is as it seems. As Elena struggles to discover the haunting truth before it destroys her, a dark force seems to hold Samuel and the Basilio in thrall—is it madness, or something more sinister?


“Chance’s Venice is glittering, mysterious, sophisticated…” – The Seattle Times on Inamorata

“…provocative and haunting. Chance’s quietly powerful tale will appeal to fans of well-detailed, mysterious, and romantic historical fiction.” – BookList on Bone River

My Review

I wanted to read The Visitant: A Venetian Ghost Story because I am always interested in a spooky or gothic historical, especially if there's also a mystery involved.

My problems with The Visitant started with my wrong assumption that the story was set in the late 1700s rather than the late 1800s. The entire first third of the book resulted in my shaking my head because I couldn't believe how progressive the Venice in the story was. When I realized that the story was in the late 1800s, I began to like the story better, but I still didn't think that Venice was that progressive. Toward the beginning of the novel, Samuel attempts to make a deal with Elena, swearing if she reads a racy novel he will stop acting like a spoiled child. I was a little worried that my hopeful Italian gothic mystery would then change into an erotica novel, with naughty passages filled with nurses and patients and nuns and priests. Thankfully there are only a few sex scenes, and none of them are out of the ordinary of the run-of-the-mill historical romance. However, I just couldn't believe that men and women were that outspoken about sex in the late 1800s, even in Venice.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on Kim's Fall TBR #toptentuesday @KHeniadis

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Books on Kim's Fall TBR

1. Autumn Thorns by Yasmine Galenorn

A woman who ran away from a small town, only to come back after her grandmother passes and she inherits her home. And of course, she finds out that she has a gift, and that her mother was murdered. This is one trope that always attracts me.

2. Tricky Twenty-Two by Janet Evanovich

Really, really loved this series up to about book 13. I keep reading it in hopes that Evanovich will go back to her roots. We shall see.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (120): Dreamstrider by Lindsay Smith #waitingonwednesday #wow

1 comment:

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Title: Dreamstrider
Lindsay Smith
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (Macmillan)
Release Date: October 6, 2015

A high-concept, fantastical espionage novel set in a world where dreams are the ultimate form of political intelligence.

Livia is a dreamstrider. She can inhabit a subject's body while they are sleeping and, for a short time, move around in their skin. She uses her talent to work as a spy for the Barstadt Empire. But her partner, Brandt, has lately become distant, and when Marez comes to join their team from a neighboring kingdom, he offers Livia the option of a life she had never dared to imagine. Livia knows of no other dreamstriders who have survived the pull of Nightmare. So only she understands the stakes when a plot against the Empire emerges that threatens to consume both the dreaming world and the waking one with misery and rage.

I can honestly say that I don't think I've ever read anything quite like this. It being a standalone (that I can see so far) makes it all the more appealing.

What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Audiobook Review: The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley #BibPleaseReview #audiobook #historicalfiction

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Title: The Watchmaker of Filigree Street
Natasha Pulley
Narrator: Thomas Judd
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Audio Publisher: Audible
Release Date: July 14, 2015
Acquired Via:

1883. Thaniel Steepleton returns home to his tiny London apartment to find a gold pocket watch on his pillow. Six months later, the mysterious timepiece saves his life, drawing him away from a blast that destroys Scotland Yard. At last, he goes in search of its maker, Keita Mori, a kind, lonely immigrant from Japan. Although Mori seems harmless, a chain of unexplainable events soon suggests he must be hiding something. When Grace Carrow, an Oxford physicist, unwittingly interferes, Thaniel is torn between opposing loyalties.

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street is a sweeping, atmospheric narrative that takes the reader on an unexpected journey through Victorian London, Japan as its civil war crumbles long-standing traditions, and beyond. Blending historical events with dazzling flights of fancy, it opens doors to a strange and magical past.


My Review

I have been putting off this review for over a month because reviews of mediocre to blah books are the most difficult for me to write. The Watchmaker of Filigree Street would have been put aside if it had started thus, but the "meh" came gradually.

As you probably realize, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street is historical fiction that had quite interesting premise - Thaniel, who can see the color of sounds, gets a watch, finds a bomb threat, and then tries to figure out how the watch had been programmed to save his life. Running parallel to his story is Grace, who wants to be a scientist but is being met with the issue of her lacking a penis in Victorian England. As these two story lines come together, we meet a variety of characters: Mori, the titular watchmaker of Filigree Street; Katsu, Mori's clockwork and kleptomaniacal octopus; and Matsumoto, Grace's Japanese buddy whose wardrobe is often the victim of her cross-dressing adventures. It should all work, but Katsu was the only character I remotely liked by the end, and I detested Mori.